My dearest friend,

Today I made an almost fatal error. I stood on the precipice of life itself, and had convinced my soul that my despair outweighed my fear of the permanence of death.

I know you’ll look at me with confusion, heartache, maybe even anger for the selfishness of it all. You would be right in doing so. It is the ultimate cowardice , the most narcissistic of selfish behavior.  And yet, when the great darkness takes hold of my mind, I can’t help but to have all logical thought washed away. It all comes down to that one moment, so alien, though familiar as well. Beatrice Sparks says it best in Go Ask Alice, ” I’m afraid to live and afraid to die.” That feeling of being in limbo, the fear of above as so below. It can be a mind shattering experience my friend. I hope you know I love you despite not being able to face the world, even with you in it.

I’ve terrified and tortured my family and friends with the burden that is me for well over a decade. Let me tell you, time does not heal all wounds.. only the ones on the surface. I’ve struggled with different diseases of the mind for as long as I can remember, they all have different faces but they’re essentially the same entity.. suffering. I won’t bore you with the mundane details, only that loss and heartache accumulate on the brain and the heart like a cancer if gone untreated; aging like a fine wine until it becomes a bitter sweet tonic of regularity. The guilt weighs on my chest and shoulders like an anvil. I can’t breathe, I can barely move with the heaviness of it all. I can’t silence the screaming in my mind and the anger at the unfairness of it all welling in my chest. Why can’t I stop this madness?! I’ve had to be carried on others shoulders for too many years. I am surrounded by people that love me, yet I am alone.

I didn’t have a destination or much of a plan. I figured I’d just lie down somewhere like a kicked dog and die of hypothermia. Im a bit of a coward that way and besides, it was a frigid night and I heard that you feel warm and sleepy, then never wake up. As easy as that sounded and however little self confidence I retain at present, I had just enough dignity to not want to be found curled up and frozen in a snowbank. Needless to say my last shred of dignity won out and I headed for home for a more elegant and albeit warmer solution to my conundrum of being alive.

I sat on the couch, remembering how he sat there with me just a few weeks ago. The shadow of him follows me in everything that I do. He was my soul mate and he wasn’t here to stroke my hair or kiss my tears and tell me it was going to be alright. I texted him and said my last goodbye, the hardest I’ve ever had to say to him. As my soul frayed around the edges I started losing my already tentative grip on reality. I messaged my parents, bidding the people that brought me in to this world the saddest of farewells. Nobody wants to bury their child but it couldn’t be helped.

The questions and the desperate pleas started rolling off my phone in droves and I suddenly felt this incessant need to run. I left my phone and my sanity sitting on the couch and started to sprint through the dark, snow covered streets. I don’t know what I was running to or from anymore, I just wanted to go as far away from the streets I had walked my entire childhood, the memories that haunted me in the dark spaces that are just out of eyesight. I ran for what felt like hours but was really a matter of minutes before I finally came to a rest on the side of the road, and decided enough was enough. This was crazy, I was crazy.. there was a bottle of pills and a balcony calling my name clear as a bell at home. I didn’t get nearly as far into my fantasy as I envisioned.

As I stood on that ledge, heart hammering in my throat, the door was abruptly opened and in ran my parents and the police. I should’ve seen that coming, maybe I did in some small way .. the distant logic of my subconscious hoping, begging to be stopped, to be helped before it was too late.

Now that I have shared my shame with you, I must share the consequential fall out of my actions for it is the most important part of all. I was immediately talked down by the police, gently but firmly, constantly reminding me of what I had done to my poor parents, crying in each others arms. They weren’t allowed to take me to the hospital themselves, perhaps because they worried I’d talk them out of it on the way there. I was taken in to custody and put in the back seat, my parents not far behind. It was like a funeral procession in my honor, the death I failed to bring laughing in my face. 

I was given a room in the lock down area of the emergency room, as there were not any beds available in the psych ward. I had my blood taken as my word wasn’t for whether I had taken any drugs that night. The cops sat outside of my room, visibly uncomfortable with the entire scenario, but required to keep me in custody until the doctor spoke to me. And so the night continued in a haze of post trauma, awaiting the final word from the doctors I have almost gotten to know on a first name basis at this point. I kept blacking out off and on, not a lapse of vision or anything, simply lapses in time.

After what could have been hours but felt like minutes, the doctor arrived, finally freeing the two antsy police officers from my far reaching ability to waste peoples’ time. I was issued a form one, not surprising but always difficult to swallow a removal of rights anyways. I was asked to remove any articles of clothing or personal effects with strings or sharp ends and surrender them to the dreaded blue bag. They took my belongings and ushered them away leaving me with my trusty psych ward novel and my dolls for comfort. Throughout the evening, more patients began entering the emergency ward. 

I closed my eyes and listened to fully grown men and women weeping for their mummies and daddies , being told that their parents weren’t coming for them. It breaks my heart that as some people reach adulthood, their parents start coming to their bedsides less and less. At least I have mine. As they were read their removal of rights for the next 72 hours, their anxiety rose as mine had hours before. The severity of the situation started to sink in, their terror reaching a peak level. Some of the patients I shared my corner of the world with had minds far more broken than my own. And yet I could sense in the hysterical pleading, exactly what they needed at that moment.. love.

It’s sad beyond measure that what I hear is pain and suffering, yet many hear drug addicts, the dangerous and the hopeless. I watched as patient after patient was strapped to a gurney and given enough sedative to put out an elephant. What a neat, tidy solution to it all right? Somehow, everytime, they find themselves shocked hours later when these same patients not only wake up panicked and drugged to the eye balls… but severely pissed off. They’re confused to find that beneath the hysteria and immense sadness, are actual intelligent human beings who understand indignity. Even faced with this knowledge from firsthand experience or the media attention it is starting to build today , the stereotype still clings tightly to us all; even in the eyes of the ones we trust most. The condescension, the short fuses, the blatant ignorance to the crippling world of the mentally sick is a weight we bear heavier than any other.

I never met any of these people in my life yet I already know J, who asked to be able to walk around her room with her doll for comfort, a simple request that goes unheeded. There’s R who is going through withdrawal from a Valium addiction and wants his parents, they will not be called this night. There is A who wants nothing more than to sit on the floor next to her bed and requests to speak to her father. She is told her father is dead and her group home has better things to do. The list goes on and on. All these unheard, haunted voices, fading into the yellowing walls. But I hear you my brothers and sisters in arms, I am listening.  Despite the immense sadness that envelopes my soul , I think I may just have found some much needed purpose. I think it may be time to take the pain that is written on my heart, and the screams written on my mind, and give a voice to voiceless.

Goodnight. The meds are kicking in.

Love always ,

Alyssa

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